A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Don't Spoil the Oil

I was sitting next to this display recently, and admiring it as a design feature. The Tribeca Café is supposed to evoke Tuscany; hence the vinegar, the oil, and the pasta. Unfortunately, since travelling to Umbria a few months ago as the guest of the Olive Oil Federation of Italy, I know too much about olive oil not to be bothered by the display.

Olive oil shares many of the characteristics of wine. Terroir, varietals, complexity of flavors, good and bad years depending on weather. Unlike most wines, however, olive oil does not improve with age.

Olives should be pressed within a day of harvest. Bottled oil should be stored in a cool, dark place and used within a year. A bottle, once opened, should be used as quickly as possible. In other words, don't save that fancy gift for "special" occasions. Use it up!

And don't sit a bottle, even unopened, in the sunlight for decoration. Most customers will probably think, how pretty! But not the real foodies. It will break their hearts.